Here's a copy of a trip report I posted over on DCSki.Com about a family outing to Seven Springs in western PA earlier this month. It just occured to me to share it here in the Family forum.
Finally the skiing conditions my wife dreams about. Up bright and early, I put the question to my son, "What's going on in school today, no tests or other important events?"
"No test, my homework is done. Why?", he said.
"Well, I don't think you'll really be interested because we can't find a friend to go but maybe you would like to go skiing with the old folks today." I said with a smile.
"You mean today, right now?" he asks hopefully.
"Maybe you'll have more fun at school hanging with your friends." I say in measured tones just to let the tease sink in.
"No, no, I'll have fun with you and mom, where are we going to go?"
"Honey, e-mail Eric's teacher and tell her we're taking a family mental health day today at Seven Springs for some spring snow therapy." I said to my wife.
"Yeehaw, alright, lets go." exclaimed my boy.
So began the day and about 2 hours later we were pulling into the Springs to a perfect spring day after a sub freezing night. The clear blue skies and sunshine made beautiful spring corn. Their web site said they've been making snow all week and it certainly showed.
We rode the Polar Bear six and warmed up for awhile in Santa's Beard Terrain Park. Actually, my boy lapped the park a few time using the rope tow, wife and I watch. After a half dozen jumps and rails we headed back to the Polar six. Already the snow was softening so we headed to the North Face.
Although there were some very brief ice patches on the back side, mostly the surface was fresh, ripening corn. We carved big turns, spraying kernels and leaving trenches in the snow. I don't know how many laps we did on the Gunnar six but we stayed backside until empty stomachs called us to lunch. We ate on picnic tables in front of the lodge, snow side and in short sleeves. Ahh, the wonders of March skiing, the best month to ski as far as my wife is concerned. I must agree and judging by the smile on Eric's face, I think the sentiment was unanimous.
After we filled our bellies we headed over to the Tyrol triple. The two lifts over there didn't open until 11 so we gave the fresh cord a go. The sun was on the front all morning and the corn was turning to light chowder. There were tricky transitions between the groomed cord and the ungroomed snow making blow and the softening chowder at the bottom. How do you wax for such variable conditions, fast, sticky then sloppy slow respectively? After a few passes on Avalanche we headed for the bumps.
Goosebumps had soft, loose snow in the troughs, easy for this bump intermediate to ski with a semblance of form. The bumps were nice through the middle with deep troughs and soft, edge-able sides. I started from a less aggressive line on the sides and ventured to the middle. I tried to pivot slip against the the backs, let 'em run a bit and pivot slam the next. The first run was shaky but I was able to keep more square to the hill, hands up and pole plants coming through the next few runs.
Kathy and Eric were growing tired of the bumps so we made our way across the front, down Tyrol. I even tried the trees between Avalanche and Tyrol but the snow making blow in was alternately sticky, smooth then fast on the older snow. We took one more run down Stowe and I hit the bump line there for one last go. We got back on the Polar six and over to the back side for Giant Boulder, Giant Steps, which had a few hits for air, and Gunnar. We skied the Yodeler a few times too. We ski North Face once but my boy preferred doing laps on the Gunnar six.
By mid-afternoon the snow was getting soft but no masked potatoes were whipped up. Mom had enough and went back to the lodge for a cup of afternoon java. Eric and I did laps on the six until my legs protested, "Enough!!"
Eric was still game and wanted to hit more jumps and rails over on Santa's Beard so that's where we ended our day, just as it began. Eric in the park and the old fart watching.
By 4 PM our day was done just as the bus loads of high school kids arrived. The Springs was gearing up for the second shift and we headed back down the mountain, sun tanned, smiling face and a warm feeling of a shared love of our sport. I recommend cutting classes anytime the conditions are right for family fun. I grade the day A+.
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Seven Springs is now closed for the season but it is not too late for some of you to play hooky and get in some spring skiing.